Ohio State faces Navy for the fourth time. The last meeting was the 1981 Liberty Bowl when the Buckeyes won 31-28.
Ohio State is ranked No. 6 in both major polls to begin the season. Six also represents the total number of current Buckeyes who have graduated: Andrew Moses (political science), Aaron Pettrey (social and behavioral sciences), Anderson Russell (communication), Austin Spitler (communication), Marcus Williams (health sciences) and Lawrence Wilson (communication).
And while we are talking sixes, that is the total of true freshmen on in the initial two-deep. They are all offensive players: fullbacks Zach Boren and Adam Homan, receiver Duron Carter and offensive linemen Marcus Hall, Jack Mewhort and Corey Linsley. Last season, the only first- or second-stringer in his first year was quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who was listed below then-redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman on the depth chart but entered the game before him.
Navy has 13 wins over BCS opponents since 2003, tied with Utah for the most of any non-BCS team. The last Ohio State loss to a team not currently a member of a BCS conference occurred Dec. 27, 1990, came at the hands of Air Force in the Liberty Bowl. Ohio State's last regular season and home loss to a non-BCS member school came in 1957 in the season opener when TCU beat the Buckeyes 18-14.
Of the 44 players listed in the initial two-deep published by the university, 17 are in their fourth or fifth collegiate years.
Ohio State last lost its home opener 31 years ago when the sixth-ranked Buckeyes were smoked 19-0 by No. 5 Penn State. Freshman quarterback Art Schlichter started the game for Woody Hayes' OSU squad.
Chris Spielman, who wore No. 36 as a Buckeye from 1984-87, will be recognized at halftime Saturday for his upcoming induction to the College Football Hall of Fame. Spielman was a two-time All-American linebacker who won the 1987 Lombardi Award. He remains the co-leader in tackles for a game at Ohio State with 29 against Michigan in 1986.
Saturday Ohio State will begin its 120th season of college football. The Buckeyes are 808-307-53 all time.
Navy averaged a nation's-best 293.8 yards rushing per game last season. Ohio State was 18th in the nation against the run, allowing 110.2 yards per game. In Jim Tressel's tenure as OSU head coach, the Buckeyes have allowed more than 200 yards rushing four times: Illinois (2007, '08), Penn State (2001) and Minnesota (2001).
A service academy team last visited Ohio State in 1931 when the Buckeyes beat Navy 20-0. Sid Gillman scored the only offensive touchdown of the game on a 35-yard reception while Junius Ferrall added touchdowns via return of a fumble and an interception.
Navy last beat a Big Ten team in 1979, a 13-12 win over Illinois. The Mids are 26-40-3 all-time against the Big Ten.